The Secret Summer Paddle

Mj 618_348_the secret summer paddle
Photograph by Tyler Roemer

For a few months each year, the glacial snow on Oregon’s 9,000-foot Broken Top Mountain thaws to a balmy 34 degrees, making this normally frozen lake – hidden at the base of three volcanic peaks – navigable by paddleboard. The only problem is getting there. Bend native Eli Odegaard, 23, drove five miles of winding off-road track to the summit trailhead, then hiked two more miles with a 30-pound inflatable paddleboard strapped to his back. “It’s great to go in the late summer because the snow from previous winters floats around and makes these cool icebergs,” Odegaard says. “The water is calm and crystal clear, so you can see them below the surface.” Wearing wetsuit booties, Odegaard maneuvered through the floating icebergs, breaking up remaining ice sheets with his paddle as he traversed the glassy water. “The lake itself is nestled in a pocket on the front of the Eastern summit,” he says, “so if you hike up a little ridge, you can look all the way down into the valley of Central Oregon – and see a great sunset.”

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